The Islamic Movement in Nigeria condemns the wicked antics adopted today in court by the Kaduna state government through their prosecuting counsels aimed at humiliating our leader, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky, and subjecting him to further hardships. These mischievous moves by the Elrufai government were equally meant to ridicule the formidable legal team of the Sheikh, who had consistently defeated the government’s team in all cases thus far, including securing a landmark favourable judgement ordering the immediate release of the ailing Sheikh and his wife, both of whom the government is still detaining in contempt of a competent court order.
It will be recalled that the Kaduna state government had chosen a path of dishonour and shame in charging the Sheikh and his wife for aiding and abetting alleged offences they couldn’t prove in the same court against hundreds of his supporters. They refused to diligently pursue the case, but rather use one flimsy excuse or the other to delay making any progress in the case because of their knowledge that they don’t have a case against them. When the court granted them medical leave to go and seek urgent medical attention in India, the government had opposed, trying to rather put obstacles on their paths. Then they attempted to assassinate the Sheikh, with the active connivance of NIA, in India. That too was botched with the Sheikh opting to rather return to Nigeria. Since that return, the Sheikh and his wife have been largely held incommunicado. No contact with their legal representatives was given and only a minimal contact with doctors, and even that only after the Sheikh’s wife took seriously ill in detention.
We therefore take a very strong exception to the misinformation in court today that they were being allowed unfettered access to their legal representatives. To rub salt to injury, the prosecuting counsels had requested the court to order the immediate transfer of these very ill persons to the ill-equipped Kaduna Convict Prison rather than to a well-equipped medical facility.
The Kaduna prison is dilapidated and is without any medical facility. It was in that very prison that some survivors of the Zaria genocide of December 2015 died due to lack of medical attention. It can therefore never be a substitute for appropriately furnished medical facility that can take care of their urgent medical needs.
We view any attempt to take Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife to anywhere other than a hospital that is sufficiently equipped to handle their medical needs as punishing them further.
Their absence in court again today is even worrisome, because they were equally absent during the last court session because of what
their counsel, Femi Falana, said at that time, was due to their deteriorating health conditions.
We therefore vehemently condemn any attempt at further subjecting Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife to more hardship. We reiterate our unequivocal demand for their immediate and unconditional release. We will never waiver or succumb, and will leave no stone unturned in our legitimate demand for his freedom.
PRESIDENT MEDIA FORUM
ISLAMIC MOVEMENT IN NIGERIA